Friday, December 30, 2011

Rereading Miles: The Wisdom of Cordelia

Rereading Cordelia when I'm nearly her age is a strange experience.  She always seemed so mature and wise when I was younger, and now that I'm closing in on her age when we first meet her in Shards of Honor, I think I'm even more impressed by her wisdom because I don't feel anything like it in myself.  Maybe next year? 

Of course, our life experiences are, you know, different.  She's a fictional character who lives in a far future sci-fi world, and there's a war going on and stuff, but her wisdom about people and her ability to forgive when necessary (and her ability to know when something else is called for and then follow through with it) are universal traits.  She truly does pour out honor like a fountain. 

My fountain is certainly less infinite and much more sludgy and often broken.  I often feel more like a pool for the grace of God.

Have you ever read a book frequently enough to know this odd feeling of creeping up on characters who don't age?  It's kind of like what happens when you read Sunday comics that are frozen in time, I suppose.  Or that feeling of knowing people who died young and are thus frozen in time at that age.  Anyway, it's an interesting experience. 

I wonder what I will think of Cordelia when I read one of her books and am older than she is.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Mars descending out of season

Mars descending out of season

The moon tonight
absolutely impossible
like a science fiction special effect
slinking along the horizon

terrifying, enormous, glaring
like a one-eyed Mars
descending to hunt
on the earth himself

his single blood-gold eye
glimpsed in flashes as he runs
through the trees pacing me
too many trees in the way

I want to find a hill
cold be damned and stare
back at him drink in my fill
not blinking until he does

Friday, December 9, 2011

Night of the Living Dead Christian (not making this up)

It's called Night of the Living Dead Christian.  It promises comedy theology.  And my parents gave it to me for my birthday.  This is one I'm really looking forward to reading. : )

Once again, the comments on John Scalzi's site were fairly entertaining, as well.   The author even responded in a way that I found intriguing and funny; I hope my expectations aren't too high . . .
Matt Mikalatos says:
October 6, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Michael Langlois @ 12:58

I haven’t gotten any real criticism from my friends, but they know me well enough to know my point of view. I will say, as Jerry @3:09 mentioned, that the mention of religion in general seems to make people think they have the right to set up their freak flags on your front lawn. I’ve had angry emails from strangers, certainly. Also… a guy claiming to be Jesus wrote me, but that’s a whole other story.

3 common issues from the Christians who don’t like how I deal with theology in my novels:

1. “I don’t get it.” They genuinely don’t understand what is going on. Is this pro-Jesus or anti-Jesus or what?

2. “Could you write me an essay?” In the absence of obvious, point by point, essay style theology, some readers are unable to discern what is being said. And since I shy away from outright didacticism in my fiction, this can be an issue. These are also the folks who generally don’t like that the books are designed more to wrestle with questions than provide answers….

3. “Making fun of Christians = making fun of Jesus.” Which is obviously not true. I’m pretty sure Jesus is making fun of some Christians right now. In a really loving way.

I get completely different mail from people who aren’t Christians, but those are the issues that seem to come up most from the more religious readers.
I'll let you you know if I think it's comedy theology gold.  That's a genre that certainly isn't well-populated . . .

Monday, December 5, 2011

What is reading (all) about for you?

"Isn't reading all about learning about OTHER people?"
- Helene November 16, 2011 6:01 AM at Andrew Smith's blog

This quote intrigued me.

I do love to read for the chance to learn about The Other and see things not as much from my own point of view.  When I read a couple of Suzanne Fisher Staples's books about a girl and young woman in Pakistan, I was stunned and amazed at all the things I had never even thought about considering before.  Books are about the only place where I can sort of get out of my own head and try to wrap it around the stories and ideas of others.

I disagree with this quote.

(I tell my students that absolute words like "all" are warnings.)  I think I've learned more about me in books than I have anywhere else.  Maybe some books have shaped me, but I feel like more often than not I've met pieces of myself in many books.  (Oh, that's not a portrait on the wall; it's a mirror.)  Identifying with someone in the book is not an absolute requirement for me to enjoy the book; I'm not a Method reader.  It's just that I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy because they come at reality and humanity from a slant, and sometimes that makes insights easier to see and handle, and sometimes those insights are about real, human me.

What do you think?

If this were a continuum, would you skew more towards the "others" end or the "me" end?  Or do you whipsaw between them?  Skate calmly up and down the line?